Civil society organizations condemn Syrian regime’s election to WHO Executive Council

EDLEB, Syria — The Syrian Civil Defense published a copy of a joint statement it signed with other Syrian civil society organizations in which they criticized the election of the Syrian regime to the Executive Council of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The statement indicated that civil society organizations feel great frustration and shock at the decision to elect the Assad regime as a member of the WHO Executive Council. It also stressed that this measure is a reward for the regime for the crimes it committed against civilians, aid workers, and medical personnel, as well as for its deliberate destruction of hospitals and other health centers.

The statement also pointed out that the Syrian regime’s crimes were not limited to direct targeting, but extend to the systematic deprivation of civilians, living outside its areas of influence, from life-saving humanitarian aid, including medicines and medical supplies. These policies have only worsened since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic through the permanent obstruction of cross-border aid with only the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing, north of Edleb (Idlib) left open. The Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing is the only lifeline for more than four million civilians.

The signatory organizations stressed that they will intensify their efforts to expose the crimes of Assad and will continue to demand accountability of the regime and its supporters.

They also stressed that the presence of Assad regime in the WHO Executive Council will increase its ability to influence policy and politicize the WHO organization.